Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Impatient Patient

For about a month now, people had been succumbing all around me to some virulent strain of what my father used to refer to as "the creeping crud" (a cold and flu combo deal) that was laying people low in droves. Michael—one of my fellow Sandhillians—was hit especially hard and was down for about a month. There was nothing about his experience that made me envious, and I was simply glad it wasn’t me. More commonly people had a hard week. Somehow though, I was escaping it—until Sunday.

Despite a steady diet of zinc lozenges (my standard prophylactic against colds), down I went. The good news was that it was a travel day (the sickness held off until I had completed my two days of workshops for the student groups in Kalamazoo and I wasn’t needed on stage again until the following Friday). Unfortunately, that was also the bad news. While I typically look forward to the rhythmic jostling of rail travel, it was not nearly as much fun with a stuffed head.

In Chicago for a couple hours around noon to change trains, I had just enough down time (and residual energy) to bang out the last blog in my series on Economic Leverage in Hard Times… and then I was done for the day. To compound my misery, I was shunted into a passenger car that offered no access to an electric plug and I was facing the prospect of a 54-hour journey without hope of pushing back the ever-rising tide of electrons that flood my In Box. It’s in moments like that that I can start to understand depression.

In the morning however, things got better. After sauntering over to the Tattered Cover (a local, thriving indie bookstore on the corner of 16th & Wynkoop, just catty corner from Union Station in downtown Denver) and stoking up on a triple latté (a person can only indulge in sickness so long), I purposefully strode back to the train and negotiated a change of seats into the next car, which had electric plugs at every seat. Sure I was still sick, but who’s got time for that shit?

While I was still not working at full speed, at least I was working. Intermingled with doing the Sunday New York Times Magazine crossword, reading chapters of Elizabeth Arthur’s Antarctic Navigation (a novel inspired by Robert Scott’s tragic and fateful march to the South Pole in 1912—a fair example of what Annie used to describe as my fetish with “freezing and starving” books), gnoshing on high-end delicacies secured at Zingerman’s world-class deli Friday morning en route to Kalamazoo, and indulging in the occasional nap, I started making a dent in my email traffic. And that’s almost as good a mood elevator as sex (though not quite).

The truth is, I make a terrible patient. I can handle it for about a day and then things had better change, or somebody is going to be sorry. My getting that seat with an electric was good for everyone on board. Not counting this blog entry (which I’m crafting as we pull out of Sacramento for the last two hours of the trip), I’ve banged out 24 emails since finding the Write Stuff yesterday morning, including four hours today spent editing minutes from a conference call Sat afternoon. Yeehah!

What will happen if I get really sick, and maybe have to cancel a consulting gig? I hope to never find out. And neither do you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been gargling twice a day with warm salt water since last September, and touch wood, I haven't had the flu or a real cold since then.